By CAROLINA DIAZ
Cypress Park — Every other Thursday a blue-and-white trailer covered with hearts has been pulling up to next to the Cypress Park Recreation Center. The mobile shower with four stalls inside is the latest effort to improve the well being and hygiene of those living on the streets.
The Shower of Hope, a group that operates mobile showers in Cypress Park, Lincoln Heights and other locations, teamed up with Council District 1 to provide free showers to the homeless of Northeast L.A.
“We have been working on finding a mobile shower provider since May 2018 and were impressed with Shower of Hope and their mutual compassion and urgency to bring hygiene services to the homeless community,” said Jose Rodriguez deputy district director for Councilman Gil Cedillo.
There is no requirement to use the shower except for filling in a sign-up sheet. The shampoo, soap and towels are provided.
“The locations were selected based on proximity to areas where there is a homeless community and are geographically dispersed to increase access to this resource,” said Rodriguez. In addition, the showers need to be located near a water and power source as well as bathrooms.
The Shower of Hope began serving only one location in the beginning of 2017. Now, their trailers visit 10 sites at parks, churches and clinics. The group was on track to provide more than 15,000 free showers last year, according to a fundraising website.
Officials with The Shower of Hope said they believe that maintaining good hygiene is not only important for a person’s health but for their self-confidence and well being.
But the Shower of Hope has faced some challenges getting some homeless persons — including those with children — to use the service. “This group of people are often marginalized, so they felt even more vulnerable going to a place that offers free hygiene and showers,” said Lisa Nava, operations supervisor.
The group is planning to continue to offer more mobile showers and more locations this year. The Eastsider asked The Shower of Hope how many homeless persons had been served in Cypress Park and Lincoln Heights but the organization did not respond to our requests for more information.
Meanwhile, Council District 1 plans to evaluate the past three months to check if the city-funded program has been working or if any changes are needed.
“Together we aim to expand the program to five days with the support from the city’s allocation of State Homeless Emergency Assistance Program funds,” said Rodriguez.
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Carolina Diaz is a freelance writer who want to give the community a platform to voice its issues
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